After waiting two years to make his debut on the high school wrestling mat, Glastonbury High School junior Troy Giaccone is now a conference champion.
Giaccone, who wrestles at 182 lbs., defeated Gavin Fallon of Avon to win the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) title at Glastonbury High School on Feb. 4.
“Just seeing all the coaches excited for me and seeing all my teammates excited for me felt great,” stated Giaccone. “It felt like all the work that I put in at practice had paid off.”
Making Giaccone’s accomplishment even more rewarding is that he spent his first two high school season patiently waiting for his chance to compete.
He lost his freshman season to the Covid-19 cancellation in 2021 and a season ago he missed his entire sophomore season due to a broken ankle.
Despite the season-ending injury, Giaccone said he attended every practice last winter and used that time to train mentality in preparation for his return.
GHS head coach Jake Jones said he could see Giaccone’s drive from day one, but wasn’t sure what to expect out of him this winter because of his lack of time on the mat
“His greatest attribute is definitely his work ethic,” stated Jones. “Not a lot of high school athletes are getting themselves in the gym after practice every day, and I think Troy’s strength is a large part of his success.”
Entering the conference championship, Giaccone was the fourth ranked wrestler in his weight class. His road to the championship would include knocking off the top two seeds to win the championship.
In the semifinals, he took down the top-seed Jesse Baldwin of Middletown, who had just defeated Giaccone in a tournament the previous week.
Once the CCC bracket was unveiled, Giaccone was thrilled to get a shot at redemption.
“My coach came up to me and said this is exactly how we want the bracket because I was going to face him in the semis,” recalled Giaccone. “It really happened how we wanted it. I wanted to go against him again and I knew I could beat him because I only lost by one point the first time.”
Jones added that Giaccone approached the rematch with a different mindset.
“Troy admitted himself that he went into the [first] match nervous because Baldwin is a big, strong wrestler himself,” added Jones. “I knew that we would be able to beat him when we saw him again and we were lucky enough to see him a week later. It definitely is a confidence boost beating good wrestlers. Wins are wins, but wins against guys that know what they’re doing are definitely good for a wrestler’s confidence.”
After eliminating Baldwin, Giaccone said his confident was at an all-time high going into the title match which he completely dominated, beating Fallon by a major decision (10-0).
“It felt amazing,” said Giaccone, who said friends and coaches came up to congratulate him following the victory.
It was made extra special that GHS was the host site for the tourney. The Guardians finished ninth overall at the event with
Andrew De La Rosa (138 lbs.) and Kyle Amirault (145 lbs.) placing fourth and Ryan Ouelette (113 lbs.) placing sixth.
Giaccone, who has been wrestling since the 4th grade, admitted that his first matches this season were nerve-wracking after having two years without competition.
Once he settled the nerves, he’s been a wrecking ball, winning 23 of 26 matches this year.
He credited wrestling partner and senior captain Andi Jano for his guidance this year, saying Jano gives him advice before matches and providing Pedialyte afterwards to replenish the electrolytes.
Along with wrestling, Giaccone also runs cross-country and plays lacrosse at GHS .
The three-sport athlete said that the stamina training from cross-country allows him to “go the length in any match” and that the physicality of lacrosse prepares him for the rigors of wrestling.
Next up is the Class LL championship, taking place at Trumbull High School, on Feb. 17 and 18.
“Troy is definitely reaching his potential,” stated Jones “I see good things ahead for Troy.”
After overcoming a two-year absence from wrestling, there’s no telling what is next for the rising wrestler.
“I’m just ready for it,” Giaccone said of the upcoming tournaments “I’m going to do the best I can.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin